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EB-5 Question of the Week: Can I participate in the EB-5 program if I am a Russian national?

Yes, the EB-5 Immigrant Investor Program does not disqualify applicants on the basis of nationality. You may participate in the EB-5 program even if you are of Russian nationality.

The EB-5 program of the United States provides an opportunity to foreign investors and their qualifying dependents to obtain U.S. Green Cards with an investment of $800,000 in a government pre-approved real estate project. With a Green Card in hand, a family can freely reside and work in the U.S. and take advantage of a plethora of benefits in this land of opportunity, including but not limited to access to top quality education, limitless career opportunities, and world class healthcare. The investment of $800,000 is returned to the family after approximately five years of benefiting the U.S. economy.

While Russian investors can participate in the EB-5 program and obtain Green Cards for themselves, their spouses, and children under the age of 21, they must be mindful of the below considerations.

Source of Funds

Although EB-5 remains one of the most flexible immigration programs to the U.S. and does not discriminate based on nationality, it nonetheless requires all investors to show that the capital used for investment in the U.S. is from lawful sources and can be legally traced. One of the requirements for the source of funds is that the funds should not be commingled with government sources. Therefore, politically exposed persons (PEPs) cannot participate in the EB-5 program. While children of PEPs can participate in the EB-5 program to obtain their Green Cards, the source of funds used for the investment must not be a gift from a PEP.

U.S. Financial Regulations and Sanctions

U.S. regulations mandate that all U.S. entities and persons must comply with the Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC) regulations. OFAC is a federal agency under the U.S. Department of the Treasury that administers and enforces economic and trade sanctions based on U.S. foreign policy and national security goals. Currently, OFAC regulations have imposed economic sanctions on Cuba, Iran, Sudan, North Korea, Syria, Russia, and fewer sanctions on other countries. That said, OFAC has authorized “general licenses” pursuant to 31 CFR Section 501.801. Generally, it is understood that the EB-5 program is exempt from requiring foreign investors from obtaining a “specific license” and that they are authorized to transfer funds from a sanctioned country for the purpose of participating in the EB-5 program by virtue of a general license. A general license is beneficial to investors as they can avoid the lengthy and complicated process of applying for a specific license.

While Russian nationals are generally not required to obtain a specific license from OFAC prior to participating in the EB-5 program, investors must still be mindful of the Specially Designated Nationals (SDN) list. If an EB-5 investor’s funds originate from a person or entity on the SDN list, they are most likely required to obtain a specific license prior to making an investment in the U.S. Therefore, if you suspect that your funds may originate from a source on the SDN list, you must be proactive in conducting a search prior to transferring your investment funds to the U.S. 

Next Steps

As each individual investor’s petition is different based on the source of their funds, investors are highly recommended to work with an experienced consultant in serving as their active guides throughout the application process. Our team of U.S. licensed lawyers and professionals have over a decade of experience in assisting individuals and families apply for U.S. residency via the EB-5 program. We will prescribe a set of documents depending on your personal circumstances for the purpose of pre-qualifying your file. Prior to payment of any fees or making an investment, our team will review your documents to ensure that you are a suitable candidate for the EB-5 program.

If you are ready to start your migration journey with The American Legal Center of Dubai, contact us today for more information and a complimentary consultation.

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